893

Al-Andalus

Availability

Fall 2013

Location

5th Floor Classroom

Al-Andalus, as Spain was known in Arabic during its period of Muslim rule from 711-1492, was one of the longest-lasting sites of encounter among medieval Jews, Christians, and Muslims. This class focuses on the cultural history of this encounter. We will examine objects including manuscripts, ivories, metalwork, ceramics, and silks, as well as architecture including synagogues, mosques, churches, and palaces. Alongside these objects and spaces, we will consider medieval written sources, including chronicles, poetry, and the texts of treaties and diplomatic documents. Oftentimes, political and religious texts deal with religious difference polemically, even as poetry and material culture betray a fascination with the artist or patron's ostensible enemies. Our discussion will focus particularly on the different perspectives written and material sources provide, and will analyze how scholars have addressed these challenges. We will also examine the people, ideas, goods, and technologies that successively transformed al-Andalus and its neighbors, and will discuss to what extent al-Andalus should be seen as exceptional, in the context of Europe and of the broader Islamic world. 3 credits. Satisfies non-Western or  pre-1800 requirement